Opposing immigration wasn’t always racist
By Peter Skerry APRIL 16, 2017
T oday, the battle lines over immigration policy are sharply defined. In the last two years, Donald Trump’s rise has drawn attention to the Republican Party’s lurch toward the right. Opposition to current levels of immigration, illegal and otherwise, has taken on a tone that is stridently populist, even reactionary.
Meanwhile on the left, big-city mayors and blue-state legislatures are declaring sanctuaries for undocumented residents. Democrats have criticized not just Trump’s limitations on refugees, travelers from Muslim countries, and H-1B visas, but also his stepped-up enforcement of existing immigration laws. While liberals and progressives have stopped short of endorsing open borders, they’ve come to treat opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on illegal immigration as unacceptable, even racist.
In academia and the media, Trumpism is receiving plenty of attention. Yet the Democrats’ new default position — that opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on legal immigration are virtually unacceptable — is just as extreme, certainly by historic standards. The shift in the liberal perspective has just received far less scrutiny.